Brand Strategy / 07.01.2020

The biggest nonprofit marketing trends of Q2

So much has happened in the nonprofit world over the past three months. We’ve seen a focus on COVID-19 relief, innovative online fundraising, and drastic changes in social media consumption as the effort to fight racism and injustice across the world continues.

Our hope is that these insights will bring a new perspective to a project or task you’re currently working on, or spark interesting discussions with your team. While some of these topics fall outside your specific industry, we believe these macro trends represent meaningful implications and opportunities for the important work you do. 

Brands supporting Black Lives Matter

This Google Doc, created by strategists Lexie PérezJulian ColeStephanie Vitacca and Davis Ballard, catalogues in great detail the brand reactions and pledges across numerous industries. Axios also took a look at Fortune 100 brands that pledged donations to social justice orgs:


Taking a more human approach to email marketing

The folks over at NextAfter put together an awesome report on nonprofit fundraising amidst COVID-19. With in-person events cancelled, many orgs have revved up email fundraising efforts. Some tidbits I found most interesting:

– Mentioning COVID-19 in solicitations may be beneficial if your organization is directly related to providing relief…but if it’s not, this may actually hurt your efforts.

– Send name can make a big difference. Data shows 74% of nonprofit emails come from organizations, 17% come from a person and mention the organization, and only 9% are sent from a person with no organization mentioned. As shown in the example below, emails sent directly from a person with no organizational affiliation perform best. Those that came directly from a person, with no organizational affiliations had the highest open rate. If you already send emails from a person, try switching up the sender, especially if your audience has come to expect this from you.


Simpler email design can increase revenue. NextAfter found in an A/B test that plain text emails not only had higher open and click rates, but resulted in an increase in donations.

New Google integrations improve online fundraising 

Google recently partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe to allow businesses to sell gift cards and collect donations through their Google My Business listings. The rollout of this feature is set to be slow, as to prevent misuse.

To set up this feature, businesses must have a physical storefront and need to have verified their GMB listing before the month of March.

A shift in social media habits 

As many individuals began working remotely last quarter and more aspects of life moved online-first, Sprout Social reviewed data from 20,000+ customers to see how social media usage has changed since March. They found:

– Distinct drop-offs in activity after 5-6 pm mean afternoon and evenings are no longer great times to post.

– Posting times have largely remained the same or moved up, but rarely have gotten later. Post timing can make the difference between hundreds of people seeing your post, so it might behoove you to test posting an hour earlier than normal.

Hannah Mills Digital Strategist, UX & Content Hannah specializes in translating marketing research and insights into data-driven strategies for clients, particularly in the nonprofit and healthcare industries.

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